The chickens finally come home to roost for Miles in Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez’s “Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man” #10, the latest issue of this consistently wonderful series. The decision he made to reveal his identity to his girlfriend Kate Bishop, whose parents are Hydra operatives, is now creating immediate and serious danger in his life.
Brian Michael Bendis uses most of the issue to show Miles receiving advice from various friends around the Ultimate Universe, who almost unanimously tell him it was a mistake to do what he did. The meet ups are funny and the dialogue is as sharp as ever. In between, Spidey gets to mix it up with Sabertooth and Electro, who are battling each other over some as-of-yet unrevealed shenanigans. The balance between action and quiet in the issue kicks off with a very real and intense conversation between the head of Brooklyn Visions Academy and Jefferson, who must swallow some hard lessons after leaving Miles in the lurch since before this volume began. Jefferson is a proud, strong man and Bendis uses the scene to show his growth as a person after letting both fear and pride push him away from his family.
Accepting responsibility for your actions is a theme in the issue, as Miles also decides that it’s time to talk to Kate about his secret and must deal with the unintended consequences. Almost all of the action that Miles has found himself in since his creation has been very personal in nature and this is no different. He now finds himself at the mercy of the girl he “loves” and her evil family. From a storytelling perspective, it’s exciting to watch Bendis create superhero level reactive moments for things that happen to every teenager. Miles believes he loves his girlfriend the same way everyone thinks that about their first significant other. His older friends treat these admissions as what they are — puppy love — but, in this case, the puppy love is leading down a deadly path.
David Marquez knocks out every little detail in this book. For the last few years, Bendis has been in a double-page sequence phase and the artist creates beauty each time a spread like that is given to him. The scenes are well-staged, allowing ample room for the verbose dialogue that comes with this book and his characters emote even when not speaking, with facial expressions and body language speaking volumes. As he answers questions about Miles returning to school, Jefferson looking out the window shows that, even as he is growing, he still has a hard time facing the music, unable to look the headmaster in the eye. Ganke’s dancing alone in his dorm is just flat out fun and shows how much can go in to a comic page when people aren’t trying to punch each other in the face.
Justin Ponsor paints the entire book in lighting that enhances each scene. The ominous lighting surrounding Maria Hill as she sets up their raid on the opening page adds to her power and the weight of the situation as it sits in her mind. The sterile, daytime serenity of the Bishop household as Miles finds himself at the family’s mercy adds to the juxtaposed menace presented in the script.
“Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man” continues to be a homerun book and it’s sad to know that there is an end in sight for the characters of this world. For now, though, it’s great to know there are books this exciting being published by major superhero publishers today.